March 6, 2018 | Morning Headlines

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Somalia At Risk Of Falling Back Into Famine

05 March – Source: Anadolu Agency – 242 Words

Somalia will plunge back into famine if humanitarian aid is pulled out of the Horn of Africa country, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said in a statement Monday.  The statement came ahead of the Somalia humanitarian conference that will take place in London on Tuesday.  NRC regional director Nigel Tricks urged the international community to take action. “The international community saved thousands of lives in Somalia last year, and helped stop a famine before it could happen,” he said. “But less humanitarian aid now threatens to throw the country back into a deeper crisis, even towards catastrophe.”

On Tuesday, diplomats, donor agencies, the UN and other delegations will gather in London for a high-level meeting on the humanitarian situation in Somalia, according to the statement.  “5.4 million Somalis need humanitarian aid this year. Over 300,000 children under age five are acutely malnourished, including 48,000 severely malnourished children who face an increased risk of death,” said the NRC.

According to the UN, 2.7 million people today live in what is described as a crisis or emergency phase of hunger.   To tackle forecasted drought and rebuild the war-torn East African country, the humanitarian community is reported to be in need of $1.5 billion.   More than 1.1 million Somalis have fled their homes due to drought and conflict in 2017 adding to the million people who were already displaced within the country from previous years, according to the NRC.

Key Headlines

  • Somalia At Risk Of Falling Back Into Famine (Anadolu Agency)
  • Committee: 587 Dead In Oct 14 Terror Attack (Hiiraan Online)
  • HIV/AIDS Stigma Forces People To Hide Away In Kismayo (Radio Ergo)
  • DP World Set To Break Ground On Somaliland Free Zone Project (Arabian Business)
  • It Was Not Right And I Don’t Want Any Other Girls To Go Through This (The Independent)


Committee: 587 Dead In Oct 14 Terror Attack

05 March – Source: Hiiraan Online – 324 Words

A committee investigating the toll of the devastating truck bombing in Mogadishu on Oct 14 has released new figures which raises the number of dead to 587. The Zobe Rescue Committee made up of volunteers, government and security officials released their final report on the terror attack on Sunday. The group was formed to find a more accurate death toll by speaking with relatives of those who may have been in the blast radius.

The report stated that the final number of fatalities in the attack stood at 587, an increase of 75 bodies since the last update in December. The new death toll makes the Oct 14th attack among the deadliest terror attacks in modern history. The first probe gave a death toll of 358 before quickly climbing to 512, and the latest and final report pegs the deaths at 587. In its report, the group added that an additional 316 people were seriously injured and noted that 122 victims had to be airlifted to Kenya, Sudan and Turkey for treatment.

Despite undergoing exhaustive efforts to try and count and identify each casualty, authorities warned that some of the victims may never be found because of the intensity of the blast. Somalia’s national relief and response committee have received nearly $4.4m (USD) in donations to support the victims of the attack. Somalia and Djibouti each contributed $1m, Puntland donated $500,000, and the rest was collected by the Somalia diaspora.

On Oct. 14, a truck bomb packed with explosives was detonated outside the busy K5 intersection in the middle of the day. The impact of the truck bomb was compounded by a nearby fuel tanker that multiplied the intensity of the blast. A second blasted targeting Medina district hit less than two hours later. Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, Al-Shabaab has frequently used the same method of attack against civilian, government and military positions in its decade-long insurgency.

HIV/AIDS Stigma Forces People To Hide Away In Kismayo

05 March – Source: Radio Ergo – 330 Words

Ali Daud, 46, has been evicted three times from rented houses in Kismayo, southern Somalia, when his landlords found out about his HIV status. He told Radio Ergo he once found his belongings dumped in the road outside his house without any warning that he was being evicted. When he came out publicly last year in an interview with the local media about living with HIV/AIDS, Ali’s relatives abroad cut off the $150 remittances they had been sending him. His close relatives have disowned him, claiming that he has tarnished the family reputation. “I see people talking ill and pointing fingers at me, that is a big problem for me,” said Ali, who has been living with HIV for seven years.

He lives now in a house rented from a relative with his wife, who is also HIV positive. They got married a year ago. Despite being treated as a social outcast, Ali has taken up the cause of raising awareness among the community and reaching out to help others living with the virus. He is director of an organization supporting people living with HIV/AIDS in Kismayo and visiting the HIV/AIDS ward at Kismayo hospital. Ali said that most people living with HIV conceal their status to avoid stigma. Often they do not visit hospital even to access the free antiretroviral drugs, or ARVs, available. Kismayo hospital opened an HIV unit two years ago. Dr Ibrahim Osman Dhi’is, head of the HIV unit, said he has diagnosed 18 people in the past two months with HIV/AIDS, who all refused to accept medication.

The hospital has 43 registered HIV/AIDS patients who have been attending the ward for treatment. Six of them were repatriated from Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya, and returned with their medication records to resume treatment. Before Kismayo hospital opened its specialist unit, there were no ARVs available. A doctor paid for her to travel to Mogadishu, where she sought treatment for six months.


DP World Set To Break Ground On Somaliland Free Zone Project

05 March – Source: Arabian Business – 298 Words

The final agreement to develop a greenfield economic free zone in Somaliland to complement the growth of the Port of Berbera has been signed between DP World and its government in Dubai. The port operator said in a statement that it expects to break ground on the 12 square kilometre free zone project this year. Located next to the port, it will support the growth of Berbera as a regional trading hub and generate jobs.

DP World Group chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, said: “Our vision for Berbera is to make it a regional maritime hub in the Horn of Africa and its development will encourage growth for the region’s economy. “It’s also a boost for local prosperity – jobs for the people of Somaliland and future generations. We look forward to bringing our global experience here and to help develop the Berbera Corridor, which is key to encouraging regional economic activity.”

Dr Saad Al Shire, Republic of Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, added: “Developing a free zone will complement the growth of Berbera Port, enabling it to become a gateway for trade to the region and the whole of Africa. “It will also generate jobs for the local population and encourage small and medium-sized companies in the area to locate their operations in an environment conducive to trade. Our partnership with DP World is a model that we are keen to develop and for the benefit of all.” The free zone will target a wide range of businesses including warehousing, logistics, traders, manufacturers and other related businesses.


“She is very keen to point out that FGM is not, contrary to much popular belief, a religious issue. “Show me where in the Holy Quran it says this? I am Muslim. I practise, I respect myself. Whatever religion other people have is up to them, as long as they respect me. But I don’t take bullshit from anyone. Why would I?”

It Was Not Right, And I Don’t Want Any Other Girls To Go Through This

05 March – Source: The Independent – 1431 Words

Ifrah Ahmed arrived in Ireland in 2006 when she was 17. She spoke almost no English, and was alone. “I came seeking asylum,” she says. “I left Somalia because of the war, it was not safe. Women were raped, there was violence.” Later, she reveals the personal extent of this violence. “We went during the war outside Mogadishu to stay safe. Lots of soldiers came and took all our things and raped me.” Ifrah was 13.

She arrived here with almost nothing. Now, through her quite astonishing eloquence and conviction, she has become an international activist and inspiration. She was instrumental in bringing about the 2012 legislation banning the practice of female genital mutilation in Ireland, and is gender adviser to the Somali government, with the intention of bringing about an end to FGM in a country where 98pc of girls are cut. She has also just been announced as Rehab International Person of the Year. “My life has changed,” she says. “I am so pleased I received this award, it shows what Ireland thinks of the work I do.” Ifrah was circumcised when she eight years old.

There are three different types of FGM, depending on what exactly is done, and hers was Type 3, in which the vaginal opening is sealed, by cutting and sewing over the outer labia. The closing over of the vagina and the urethra leaves women with a very small opening through which to pass urine and menstrual fluid, which can lead to serious infections as well as problems with sexual intercourse and even more so during birth.

“I was circumcised by my grandmother’s brother, he was a doctor,” Ifrah says. And in a way, she was lucky – she has, she tells me, met other girls with even more traumatic stories. “I meet with girls, also refugees, they tell me their stories; one girl told me she was circumcised with broken glass.” Even so, of the 10 or so girls operated on at the same time as Ifrah, one died, from blood loss, and she herself was left – as is common – with serious gynaecological problems. These were worsened when, after the rape, she was re-circumcised. She has since had surgery to repair some of the damage done by her two circumcisions, but still suffers; “The pain is there always,” she says.

When Ifrah came to Ireland, these problems eventually led her to hospital, and the revelation that was to form the basis of her crusade – the knowledge that what had happened to her was not necessary, and did not happen to all girls. “There was a nurse who asked where I got such injuries, what happened? I felt ‘this is not right. I realised that this never happens to Irish girls, and that is what made me so angry. That anger – I still have it. I really want to make a difference. It was not right this happened to me, and I don’t want any other girls to go through this.”

From there, Ifrah first approached the Somali community in Ireland, “I felt that girls who had been cut, they might need education on how to be treated well when they are having babies.” From there, she began to talk to doctors, schools, social workers, gardai and eventually government. She was instrumental in ensuring that FGM is illegal in this country, although, she says, that does not mean it doesn’t still happen. “It is silent, a hidden practice, nobody talks.”


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